Author's Note: I hope you guys like this one-shot, but if not, then I ask for you to read the ending author's note before you review, and see if it changes your mind.
Definition of Treason: a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state; the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery. Any attempt to... impair the well-being of a state or sovereign to which one owes allegiance; the crime of giving aid or comfort to the enemies of one's government. ()
They watched her from the corners of their eyes, and wondered, What changed?
She was always so strong, Tygra thought, studying her from behind the cloaking power of his invisibility while Cheetarah knocked a candy-fruit from a tree branch for a young Berbil. Always so fierce. A cheetah. A fighter. A Cleric.
But this wasn't the girl who'd waited in the rain and the chill wind for endless days in the hopes that the Clerics would give her one more chance. This wasn't the woman who had fought at his side in countless battles, who'd trounced Lizards and helped him to get Lion-o out of the city and to safety. This was someone else - a flicker of a candleflame, like phantom fire, instead of the contained but all-too-intense inferno she had once been.
When did she turn into an old stiff like me? Panthro wondered as she tossed him a wrench and wandered aimlessly away, pulled onward by Kit and Kat calling to her. Where's the fighter? Who is this old woman? What happened out there in the ravine before I showed up?
Kit followed the older Thundercat, hoping for answers. She never found any when prowling after the Cleric. No explanation for the shadows in slitted eyes, or the way the cheetah-Cleric's fur grew dull and coarse, the reason she nearly stopped eating altogether and seemed to grow so thin. Kat and Kit began to count Cheetara's ribs whenever they happened to see her. The count kept increasing, and her ribs grew more and more prominent. The kittens wondered if they should tell Lion-o.
Does she regret what happened? The king of the Thundercats wondered. Does she have second thoughts about her choice? Which choice?
He wondered, because she had changed since that night in the ravine. Since the night Cheetara, last of the Clerics, last of the Thunderan royal guard, had surrendered her life and her king's for what Lion-o's father would have called a passing fling. If Panthro hadn't come when he had, they all would have more than likely died. Did she think about that at night? Did the realization leave her in a cold sweat in the darkness?
There was a weight on narrow shoulders, darkness in feral eyes, that warned the older Berbils to keep their distance from Cheetara. It wasn't conscious. The Cleric was fond of the ursine cyborgs. But Robear-Belle had told the Berbil cubs to give the young Cleric some space for now.
"Let her wander a bit, so that she may find her way," she'd said. "She is wounded in her heart, but we cannot heal her. Give her time."
Time, Cheetara thought vaguely as she leaned her staff against a candy-fruit tree. Clouds were gathering overhead, thick and dark and steely gray. What can time change? What can it do for me now? What can I do when I've betrayed everything I once stood for? I've betrayed my king, my kingdom, the Clerics. Broken my promise to Jaga. And for what?
For love. For Tygra. Because he had always held her heart first, even before she had joined the Clerics as a little girl. His faith in her had given her the strength to become one of the Thunderan elite. Because of him, she had become strong enough to join the royal guard. But if that were so... what was her loyalty to her king worth? When she had sworn to defend Lion-o until death, what did it mean that she could throw his life away for the life of another? Even the man she loved more than her own life? Was her love for him poisoned now because of what she'd done?
How can time heal the wounds of treason?
She didn't know. Wasn't sure she would ever know. The only thing she could even hope for was that one day, perhaps, Lion-o and Tygra would both forgive her.
So here's the deal. What Cheetara did, choosing Tygra over Lion-o in the battle, that's treason. Her not dating Lion-o, I couldn't care less, but her surrendering the way she did during the ravine battle is treason. Treason is a capital offense in a monarchy. By rights, if the Clerics were still around, they probably would've cast her out and then possibly even executed her, it's that serious. But they can't because there's only like 6 Thundercats left on the planet. But it seemed to me like no one except Lion-o felt what she'd done was a betrayal (although I've only seen up to that episode), and for Lion-o it seemed more personal than royal. I couldn't care less about the romantic betrayal or lack thereof, because love triangles irritate me to no end and they seem to crop up everywhere. But Cheetara the Cleric's betrayal of Lion-o the King, I take issue with.
I should also mention 2 things. I've always been dissatisfied with the childlike qualities of kids' cartoons, which is obviously silly because they're for kids, but I like me a bit of realism/adult-world in my cartoons, so I tend to up the stakes when I write fics for children's stuff (like Pokemon, for example, or Rainbow Brite).
The second thing is, I totally couldn't care less that Lion-o and Cheetara don't get together. I actually didn't want them to - she's too old for him, and a bit too mature. Not that he's immature per se, but the discrepency in their experience and maturity levels doesn't make for good romance. Plus, you should never date your bodyguard. Ever. If they bring in Pumyra, I want Lion-o with her.
I was actually very disappointed with the entire episode, to be honest. Sigh. Panthro's dorky stretch arms, Cheetara's betrayal... actually, mostly the stretch arms. Sigh again.